Just days away from officially entering a presidential campaign year, the White House is blocking a bipartisan bill that seeks to hold Russia in check and punish the Kremlin’s election interference, among other transgressions.
According to The Daily Beast, “The Trump administration is quietly fighting a new package of sanctions on Russia, The Daily Beast has learned. A Trump State Department official sent a 22-page letter to a top Senate chairman on Tuesday making a wide-ranging case against a new sanctions bill.”
The report notes that the legislation was proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who called the measure a “sanctions bill from hell” for Russia.
More from The Daily Beast:
Sen. Lindsey Graham—usually a staunch ally of the White House—introduced the legislation earlier this year. It’s designed to punish Russian individuals and companies over the Kremlin’s targeting of Ukraine, as well as its 2016 election interference in the U.S., its activities in Syria, and its attacks on dissidents.
Graham said the legislation’s aggressiveness means it is “the sanctions bill from hell,” per Yahoo Finance. Trump World, meanwhile, says it is a mess.
The administration’s letter says it “strongly opposes” the bill unless it goes through a ton of changes. It argues the legislation is unnecessary and that it would harm America’s European allies–potentially fracturing transatlantic support for current U.S. sanctions on Russia. The bill “risks crippling the global energy, commodities, financial, and other markets,” the letter says, and would target “almost the entire range of foreign commercial activities with Russia.”
The Trump administration also argues that the bill would sanction Russian companies for starting their own new energy developments in Russia. And it argues the sanctions could target American banks operating in Russia and harm American asset managers.
Trump’s opposition to the bill comes a week after he met with Russian foreign minister
The timing of the White House letter of opposition to the bipartisan sanctions bill should surprise no one. It comes exactly a week after Donald Trump met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office.
And, as CNN pointed out on Thursday, this isn’t the first time Trump has bowed down to Russia on sanctions. Earlier this year, the administration was “more than six months late in imposing legally mandated sanctions on the Kremlin for the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the United Kingdom.”
Meanwhile, as Donald Trump works tirelessly to carry out Vladimir Putin’s wishlist, he still hasn’t given Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the Oval Office meeting he’s given to Russia multiple times.
In 2016, Russia helped put Donald Trump in the White House. Every day since he took office, this president has been returning the favor.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.